Swiss telco Sunrise has outsourced software testing to Software Quality Services (SQS) for the next three years to reduce costs and increase flexibility.
Sunrise is following a European trend, noted by research firm IDC, that is seeing businesses recruit standalone software testers to monitor software through the development process.
The combination of onsite and lower-cost offshore resources, as well as the flexibility to increase the testing resource at short notice, were the main attractions for Sunrise.
Outsourcing testing as a managed service
Throughout the three-year managed services contract, an increasing amount of the testing will be done in Pune, India. All of Sunrise's staff involved in the software testing were taken on by SQS.
Anna Maria Blengino, senior manager at Sunrise, said: "Our primary objective in outsourcing our testing is to reduce costs and increase our flexibility. We can attain these objectives together with SQS because the service provider is on site in Zurich, in addition to having strong offshore teams. Depending on the testing workload, SQS can also provide us with the required number of testers at short notice."
Earlier this year, utility giant Centrica signed an £8m deal with SQS. The 12-month managed software testing contract is testing business-critical systems such as those being used in Centrica's smart metering programme. Previously the firm contracted SQS on a project-by-project basis, but the managed services contract is a sign of the increasing importance of software testing to Centrica, the parent company of British Gas.
The need to get smart metering applications right has increased Centrica's software testing requirement. The billing systems related to smart metering will be complicated because of the requirement to allow consumers to manage when they use energy and bill them accurately.
SQS also recently won major deals with Deutsche Bank and Specsavers.
Testing throughout software development cycle
Outsourcing software testing is a growing trend, according to research firm IDC. It found that spending on standalone application testing services in Europe was over $2bn in 2010 and is expected to rise to over $5bn by 2015.
Jennifer Thomson, software testing researcher at IDC, says that in the past software testing has been bundled with projects and often done at the end of the software development lifecycle, but businesses are increasingly contracting independent software testers to test throughout software development.
"There is a lot more interest in standalone testing across Europe because there is a focus on quality," she said. "When we started looking at software testing about 18 months ago, it was predominantly a process that was added at the end. It was often a reaction to a business requirement rather than a sound methodology."
According to research carried out last year by software quality testing firm Cast, the average software application has more than $1m of trouble buried inside it.
In the largest study to date of the structural quality of IT applications, Cast found that it would cost more than $1m (£668,000) to fix a conservative number of bugs that remain in an the average business application once it is running.